A WALK IN THE PARK [Yes, I attempt to occasionally write a nice piece of short fiction]
“You’re pathetic,” he says, his voice raw and mean-spirited, “incapable of seeing anything through to the end.”
My mother’s voice is softer, but deceptive and equally cruel. “I wouldn’t call this just ‘anything:’ Jesus, are you really that heartless, you miserable prick?”
On a cool summer night, I listen as the two pick and tear at each other like turkey vultures, and it is all so painfully familiar. For 33 years, their mutually-destructive communiques created a permanent war zone in our modest Brooklyn home, and the casualties were heavy: both sisters opted for suicide and my only brother is doing a 40 year stretch at Attica.
Yet tonight, despite the fact I know they are now both in concrete vaults under mounds of damp earth, I still find myself compelled to listen to their voices – albeit now only in my head – with a sense of urgency….an unrelenting need to listen to each vowel and consonant for some sense of guidance or direction. Analyzing, rehashing and second-guessing arguments I’ve heard hundreds of times — thousands of times.
“Sometimes it just comes down to the courage of your convictions,” he says.
“Is that so?” She pauses for what seems like an eternity. “And how would YOU feel looking down the barrel of a .45, Mr. Big shot?”
He starts to speak, but the words stick in his throat. It’s over.
Tonight she will win, and in a small, remote area of my psyche marked “conscience,” it will be scored and recorded.
I slowly ease my finger off the trigger of the .45 caliber revolver and my eyes meet those of the stranger who stands before me, paralyzed with fear, in a secluded section of Central Park. “Leave your wallet and your watch and get the hell out of here. Now! Before I change my mind.”
Then, frustrated and ambivalent, I pull the mask off my face and head home to have dinner with my wife and catch the Yankee game on the tube.
The women of color that are the backbone of this country’s network of institutional aging facilities – many of them single parents – are denied a living wage. This creates a “revolving door” phenomenon that cripples moral and destroys any sense of continuity for the residents. This cannot stand.
Human Potential In most Institutional Aging Facilities, “activities” resemble the kinds of games and puzzles you’d find in a third-grade classroom. This reflects the ‘dumbing down’ of the American institutional aging resident. Worse, it reinforces the I AM experience of aging rather than the WE ARE.
BOTH INTER AND INTRA COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES MUST REFLECT THE NEED FOR INSPIRATION, DEDICATION AND EDUCATION. People don’t stop growing, learning and contributing as they age – unless they choose to.
Advocacy With the exception of video-recorded physical abuse, aging Americans are without effective advocacy.
We MUST develop a timely, responsive and effective system of advocacy for this nation’s elders.
Technology We already possess the technology to enrich, protect, and educate our elders. WE MUST SEEK IT OUT AND UTILIZE IT.
By Mike Ward
Disabled and suffering from a variety of illnesses — diabetes, hepatitis C, chronic chest pain and breathing difficulties — that have left him barely able to move around, Rash asked to be paroled to a nursing center. There the federal government, not Texas taxpayers, could pick up the tab for his escalating medical expenses — easily totaling tens of thousands of dollars each year.
State parole officials have said no, insisting Rash doesn’t qualify for early release on medical grounds — a decision made in dozens of other cases in recent years.
With the Legislature certain to face a tight state budget when it convenes next January, state officials confirmed Tuesday they are exploring a plan that could parole many of the most infirm, bed-ridden offenders into secure nursing homes where the offenders could be kept track of by ankle monitoring bracelets. Read more →
A group of Wii bowlers from six assisted living facilities in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, were indicted yesterday by a Federal Grand Jury on charges of Physiological Doping for the Purpose of Racketeering – a Class B felony.”
They almost pulled it off,” said Sgt. Richard Morgan of Center Valley, Pennsylvania’s Geriatric Crime Unit. The unit – affectionately called the Geezer Squeezer by local residents – was established in 1988 to protect families living in eastern Pennsylvania from the myriad scams perpetrated by assisted living residents in their communities.
Morgan explained the Wii bowler scam . . .”A 90+ year-old resident would approach an unsuspecting family and wager that they “could bowl more games than all the family members combined.” Before they began bowling, the resident would re-inject their own blood which had been previously extracted and stored in liquid nitrogen. The new blood infusion provided a burst of fresh hemoglobin, red cells and oxygen.”
“This is so unfair,” said Richard Daws, a resident of Our Lady of Unimaginable Sorrow, an assisted living facility in Easton, Pa., and one of the individuals indicted. ”Of course we steal,” but how else are we to survive? I pay nearly $7,000/month for my little 450-square-foot room. Who’s gonna’ pay that $7,000 each and every month. You?”
Responsive and caring management and staff at assisted living communities are top drivers for high satisfaction rates among residents and their families toward the communities they reside in, according to the 2011-2012 National Surveys of Customer and Employee Satisfaction in Assisted Living Communities.
When asked as to their overall satisfaction and how they would recommend the community to others as a place to receive care, the overwhelming majority of respondents (91%) and their families (92%) provided a response of either “good” or “excellent,” says the National Research Corporation, which conducted the survey. Responsiveness of management and staff, and care or concern by staff are among the list of top reasons why families and residents report satisfaction.
Chart credit: National Research Corporation, 2012 Read more →
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